Pharmacy and Poisons Board Hosts African Star Team Initiative to Tackle Illegal Health Product Trade

By Tajeu Shadrack Nkapapa

The Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Dr. F. M. Siyoi, convened a meeting with the Operation African Star team to discuss collaborative strategies aimed at disrupting the illicit trade in health products, pharmaceutical preparations, medical devices, and equipment across Africa.

Established in 2023, Operation African Star operates as an informal steering group dedicated to enhancing global public health outcomes.

The group consists of notable organizations like the European Commission (EC), Interpol, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Health Organization (WHO) among its members.

Initiated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the National Drug Authority (NDA) of Uganda, Operation African Star targets on combating illegal medicines distributed through postal services and airport environments.

During the meeting, it was announced that the European Commission’s European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) will support the detection of shipments related to the European Union, utilizing its global network of postal operators.

Key participants in the initial phase include the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, UK Home Office, Immigration, International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Postal Corporation of Kenya, United States Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General, United States Customs and Border Protection, and the Kenya Intelligence Service.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) is also participating in the International Scientific Conference, which was officially opened by Deputy President H.E. Rigathi Gachagua and Health Cabinet Secretary Nakhumicha S. Wafula at Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa

Deputy President emphasized the critical role of health professionals, including pharmacists and pharmaceutical technologists, in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Furthermore, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Susan Wafula announced the inclusion of pharmacy services in primary care networks.

The event is hosted by Dr. M.S. Louis who is the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya.